This founder who sold a startup for $200 million wants to build the next ESPN out of smartphone footage

Dan Porter wants to build a sports media juggernaut as big as ESPN, and use thousands of kids holding up their smartphones, filming a beautiful dunk or vicious block, as the springboard.

The first step of Porter’s plan is Overtime, a year-old app that lets people easily capture and edit footage from sports games, particularly high school basketball, and export the highlights around the internet.

Overtime videos reach 11 million unique users a month — 95% of which are on mobile and under 25 — and have been shared by the likes of Steph Curry.

“Snapchat has been really influential to us,” Porter, who used to run the digital side of powerhouse agency William Morris Endeavour (WME), and sold a previous startup for $US200 million, told Business Insider. Picture this: a buzzer beater captured by a fan in the stands, complete with camera shaking as everyone jumps up and down. “Snapchat really showed the value of that,” Porter said.

Like Snapchat, part of the value of Overtime is that it allows anyone with a smartphone to add effects, like slow-mo and rewind, to videos with a few taps. Porter said his team has been investing time and energy into more of these effects, including things like ball tracking.

Overtime has its own social network that helps you keep up with the top high school stars, and lets players track all the clips of them floating around, but Porter doesn’t want Overtime videos confined to the app. Right now, the videos can easily be pushed onto other social platforms, like Instagram or Snapchat, but the ultimate goal is to use them to fuel a media empire.

That’s part of the reason Overtime has raised a seed round of $US2.5 million led by Greycroft, and including former NBA commissioner David Stern.

“This is a generation that doesn’t just want to read the news,” Stern said in a statement. “They want to make and participate in it.” 

That’s where Overtime wants to go next.

Original sports programs

“We will launch a full-fledged news website,” Porter said, including SportsCenter type shows built around popular clips from the app. Beyond American sports like basketball and football, Overtime cofounder Zack Weiner said the team wants to broaden the international appeal of clips to include sports like cricket, for example.

The company plans to eventually have on-camera talent and other staff to produce original video and articles, which Porter believes will take Overtime to a new level.  

“At that point, you are actually able to have creators and personality,” Porter said. This is part of what has made YouTube successful, something that Porter saw during his stint building the digital talent arm of WME. The question is whether Overtime will be able to make the transition from nifty camera app and niche social network, to media company. And a key to this will be how much Overtime can grow without paying for costly professional sports rights, and whether it will smack into a natural ceiling of demand.

But, no matter what type of media Porter layers on top of the user-generated clips, the initial traction of Overtime has come from a simple fact: “No surprise, kids love making videos of themselves and sharing,” Porter said. That’s Overtime’s biggest weapon.

Porter first saw this in action when, early on, he sent 10 to 15 Overtime high school interns to capture summer league basketball highlights in New York. Soon, when kids would make a crazy play, they would turn to the person filming.

“Did you get that?” they’d ask. They wanted to see the clip.

Overtime’s seed funding was led by Greycroft. Ken Miller Capital, Afore Ventures, Fitz Gate Ventures, 645 Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Alpha Horizon, TACK Ventures Chaac Ventures and Edward Lando, Jordan Levy and former NBA commissioner David Stern, also participated in the round.

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